In Print & On the Air
An invention by John Goldsmith, Professor in Linguistics, that allows computers to speak in human-like voices is among 35 finalists in Discover magazine's 1997 Discover Awards for Technological Innovation. The finalists, which represent the forefront of invention and technology, were chosen from 4,000 nominees from around the world.
Goldsmith's invention, Speakeasy, was developed with the aid of the University and Microsoft Corp. To give artificial speech systems a little more personality -- and clarity -- Goldsmith studied how a typical person's voice pitch rises and falls throughout different sentences. He then programmed the resulting set of pitch rules into his Speakeasy program, ending up with a kinder, gentler and altogether more human version of computer speech.
Inventions like Goldsmith's should someday improve the lives of thousands of people who are blind and cannot read text, or who use computers as their voices.
The winners of each category will be announced Saturday, May 31, at a televised Academy Awards-style gala at Epcot in Walt Disney World. All finalists, including Goldsmith, will be featured in the June 1997 issue of Discover. Paul Sereno, Associate Professor in Organismal Biology & Anatomy, and Homi Bhabha, the Chester D. Tripp Professor in the Humanities, are among the "100 people to watch in the next millennium" in the April 21 issue of Newsweek magazine.
Sereno is also among People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" for 1997, featured in its May 5 issue, which hits the newsstands this week.
Look for Sereno, too, on Discovery Channel's "Discovery News" at 8 p.m. Friday, May 16, when the giant theropod he unearthed in Morocco, Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, goes neck and neck with Tyranosaurus rex to find out who's really the king of the dinosaurs.